Christian Science: The Comforter and its Call
Jean M. Snyder, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Jean M. Snyder, C.S.B., Buffalo, New York, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, delivered a lecture entitled, "Christian Science: The Comforter and its Call," Monday evening under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley, in its edifice at 1521 Spruce Street. The lecturer was introduced by Mr. Max Paul, member of the church.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
In the Scriptures angels announced the coming of the babe Jesus, awaited longingly as the Saviour of the world. He was to "reign and prosper" and to "execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer. 23:5) – that Son of the highest, of whose kingdom there was to be no end. Today Christian Science announces to a waiting, unstable, fearful world the reappearance of this Saviour, not as a bodily presence, but as the divine idea of God, the Holy Ghost or Comforter, which Jesus himself promised. It heralds to mankind a full revelation of the infinite God and His creation. It peals forth its clarion angelic message, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke ). Christian Science proclaims the Christ, Truth, which is to awaken mankind from the curse of materialism and the stupor of a false sense of existence; to redeem the human race from its belief in sin and suffering and deliver it from its fleshly ills. It comes to heal human minds and bodies, bringing not only mental, moral, and physical freedom but spiritual enlightenment. It brings the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of harmony, to the earth.
Jesus promised the unfoldment of God's infinite nature in these words to be found in the Gospel of John (14:26); "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines the Holy Ghost in the Glossary of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 588) as "Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love," and states in the same book (p. 128), "The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man."
God Speaks to Abraham
Throughout all time there are those who have been
conscious of the presence of God, who have heard the voice of the Comforter and
responded to its inspiration. Abram or Abraham, as he was called, was one of
these. Centuries ago he heard it when abiding in the city of
The call or the divine leading was
to separate himself from the thinking of his family, to lay aside his inherited
views and customs, to leave his native place, and with faith and compliance put
his foot on a new, a strange path. The account in Genesis tells us he did just
this. He went out with Sarah his wife and his nephew
Those of you who read and study your Bible are familiar
with the story of Abraham. Those of you who are unfamiliar with it may be
inspired to turn to Genesis and beginning with the twelfth chapter trace his
obedience to God and the wonderful rewards he had for it. You will note that
God again demanded further separation; consequently Abraham divided his
Faithful Abraham, continuing to listen to the divine guidance that was leading him away from materiality to spirituality, took another step higher on the path when he was called upon to sacrifice his son Isaac. In the twenty-second chapter we read it was then that he gave full and complete attestation of his faith by proceeding to carry out this command. But his hand was stayed from slaying the lad by the voice of the angel of the Lord, again blessing him and promising to his seed, those faithful followers in thought, that they should possess the gates of their enemies and thus bless all the nations upon earth.
The Comforter Revealed to Mrs. Eddy
Late in the nineteenth century Deity revealed Himself and spake to a woman in New England, Mary Baker Eddy, a profound student of His Word, who all her life had been searching for a deeper understanding of Deity. She heard the angelic message borne to her uplifted thought through the voice of the Comforter, rousing her from a dying condition, and it suddenly revealed to her that for which she so long had sought – the divine Principle or law that heals both the sick and the sinning. The revelation was so mighty, so effective, that it healed her of a serious injury, and she arose, restored to health and activity. For years prior Mrs. Eddy had been seeking the law of God that would heal as did Jesus, attempting to find a mental cause for all physical effects, realizing that the human mind produces all disease. Now with the revelation that came to her she was able to prove that all causation is God, good, not evil nor matter. She had the verification of the Bible promises, "For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds" (Jer. 30:17), and, "Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth" (Jer. 33:6), and, "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick" (Isa. 33:24).
Mrs. Eddy writes of this healing experience that she could not explain the modus of her relief even to the homeopathic physician who attended her and rejoiced in her recovery. She says she could only assure him that "the divine Spirit had wrought a miracle," a miracle which later she found to be in exact accord with divine law (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24). During a certain period of the childhood of this remarkable woman, she repeatedly heard a voice calling her name. Mrs. Eddy relates how she would run to her mother thinking it was she who called. Finally her mother told her that if she heard the voice again to answer as did the child Samuel, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth" (I Sam. 3:9). When she heard the call again, she answered as directed, and after that she was never conscious of it in this manner. The signification of these experiences had a direct bearing upon her later life. She was always deeply religious, and there began to grow up in her thought a reluctance to accept the views of the church of her family.
Just as Abraham's change of thought placed him apart mentally from his own people, so this attitude of mind eventually placed her apart from her family's thinking, not that she loved them less but that she could not continue to accept their religious doctrines. The mental separation had begun, and Mary Baker was treading a new path from the world of sense into the universe of Spirit. As the years passed, she continued on this path of spiritual illumination, discarding the philosophies of the religious world of her day, separating herself from the creeds and dogmas of scholastic theology and from all material means of healing. The revelation of God's power in that moment of release from suffering had shown her the nothingness of materiality and its false claims. Later she proved by her demonstrations that because of Spirit's ever-presence and substantiality, matter could not be real or substantial. The revelation to her of Spirit and the spiritual man as the image of God set her apart spiritually to do God's will in proclaiming to a sick and discordant world God's message of salvation.
God's reward for her willing obedience in listening to His voice was a unique gift. She was the only one in the world who had listened closely enough to have revealed to her the complete and absolute Science or Truth that Christ Jesus, the Master, had and practiced. This was her great discovery, and she named it Christian Science or the knowledge of the Christ, the Comforter. Mrs. Eddy says regarding her discovery: "The character of the Christ was illuminated by the torches of Spirit. My heart knew its Redeemer. . . . Being was beautiful, its substance, cause, and currents were God and His idea. I had touched the hem of Christian Science" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 23).
While obedient, and led through a
wilderness of difficulties, she swerved not from the path she pursued. Her love
for humanity urged her to give this discovery to the world. Not ready to accept
it, nor willing, the world belittled both it and its Discoverer. Loneliness and
opposition deterred her not from writing and publishing what she discovered in
a book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" – a
volume which unlocks or explains the holy Word of God. She continued to depart
from worldly procedure by establishing a church unique in itself in that it
commemorates "the words and works of our Master, a Mind-healing church,
without a creed, to be called the Church of Christ, Scientist, the first such
church ever organized" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 44). This
church and the great Christian Science movement founded by Mrs. Eddy is her
child, her reward for her obedience to and faith in the divine Principle, God;
her child, "born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the
will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). As Abraham perceived the divine idea
of church, so did Moses at the burning bush in the
The Comforter in Christian Science Calls to Humanity
To those still in the worldly way, the Comforter peals forth Paul's very words, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate" (II Cor. ), or, "Come, separate yourselves from the thinking that has no reward!" Reluctant to listen, not hearing because not understanding, the world in general hides behind the excuse that Christian Science demands too much of its followers. It argues, "I am not yet good enough to become a Christian Scientist." What it means is: "I am not yet ready to become one. I am not willing to exert myself, nor do I want to alter my views." But the demand of the Comforter is not too exacting if one is dissatisfied with his present condition and desires to replace it with a better. It might seem a narrow way at first, but it is not confining. "It expands as we walk in it," says our Leader (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 202). On this path nothing good is lost, yea, rather, is all good gained with certainty. It is not a sacrifice to discard the worthless and unprofitable. Our Leader says, "When mortal man blends his thoughts of existence with the spiritual and works only as God works, he will no longer grope in the dark and cling to earth because he has not tasted heaven" (Science and Health, p. 263).
Take heart, dear traveler; on this
path are those seeking the things of Spirit as are you, and they are to be your
companions. Divine Love supplies your need of companionship just as it supplied
Abraham's by leading him to the city of
The Comforter Unfolds Man's Spiritual Selfhood
It is not to be wondered at that Christian Scientists constantly rejoice that they have this practical religion which shows them the way out of material sense; how to separate themselves from all that would limit, degrade, or debase; and they express their joy of knowing that man, God's idea, the real man, is set apart from materiality and entrenched in his spiritual selfhood. Christian Science enables one to see himself less and less as flesh and bones, as he formerly believed, and more and more as an idea or expression of God. A wonderful revelation comes to him as he perceives himself an individual idea of God reflecting all the qualities of God, thus expressing the precise nature of Deity.
This discovery does not at once take one out of matter, nor out of the world. Humanly he goes on being in it but not so much of it. Through the teachings of Christian Science as found in his daily systematic study of the Bible and Science and Health, he begins to learn how to lift thought above the false beliefs or temptations that seem so very real or trying and peculiarly his. He begins to understand that they are not his alone, but are a phase of what might be called race beliefs, or so-called universal mortal beliefs, which are adhered to as real and presented to every mortal in some form or another. Christian Science in its holy revelation enables him to replace these suggestions with right spiritual ideas concerning himself and all creation. In the unfoldment of good, or the appearance of his true identity in consciousness, his faith in these spiritual facts he has sought and made his own is tested. In the midst of this testing time there comes the liberating thought that really he is not alone, wrestling, but that it is as the Psalmist says, "The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself" (Ps. 4:3) or, according to Moffatt's translation, "Look how the Eternal marks me out for favour!"
As one gradually lets go of a false sense of material existence, he gains or lays hold upon the spiritual sense of Life. He becomes more joyous and confident. While walking apart from the crowd mentally, he is not lonely or solitary; for he has learned that man is set apart as the direct object of the Father-Mother Love, marked out for infinite blessings in accord with God's decree for His child, "This is my beloved Son" (Luke 9:35), or, as the Revised Version translates it, "my Chosen."
The Heavenly Comfort of Divine Love
Christian Science through its heavenly comfort gives us joy because it teaches of a God that is Love, that sees and knows no evil, therefore does not visit His children with evil. No one could ever be happy with a God who sends or threatens with evil. The God of Science is a lovable God. Christian Science takes as its authority the Bible. As one searches he finds from cover to cover the related truths that reveal a God of love. Once I went to see a person, at that time not a Christian Scientist, who had been condemned to die by medical opinion and was considered to be incurably ill, existing only on white of egg and lemon juice. On the wall by her bedside was a small framed text, "God is Love." I asked her what it meant, and she replied that she did not know. Yet the words had been there close to her for years. Later through her study of Christian Science and its tender, efficient ministrations she learned what the words meant, and this knowledge restored her to health and usefulness.
In the insecurity of these troublous times, increasing numbers of men and women are reaching out for sure protection, for something stable to which to anchor their hope. More and more, human beings begin to perceive, that ignorance of God, Spirit, and lack of faith in things spiritual, as well as distrust and disregard of Deity, have brought about the present unbearable condition. Perchance you have found yourself in an unfortunate or discordant situation, and you have seen no way out. You may have the thought, "Now there is So-and-So, my friend; I will go to him and he will help me." The reason you turned to him is that you knew him. You have experienced his generosity, love, and kindliness in previous difficult hours. Thus knowing him, you trust him and his ability to assist you. Were you not well acquainted with him you would be putting no trust in him. Undoubtedly your friend will aid you if it be humanly possible, but although he greatly desires, it may be that at this moment he is unable to do so. Then what are you going to do? When all material channels are closed, when all material props are taken away, one can no longer look to material means for help or protection, or to persons for support. Blessed is that one who in a dark hour knows God well enough and understands Him sufficiently to turn to Him first, who finds God alone his protection and guidance; blessed, is he who hears the voice of the Comforter, the divine Spirit, calling, "Lo, here am I, trust Me," for "I am with you alway" (Matt. 28:20), or "all the time" (according to the Revised Version).
Perchance there is one here who
seems to be in the depths of a poignant problem, in a hopeless place; another
struggling with ill-health; someone heartsick and afraid; one who is lonely and
believes himself deprived of love and companionship; someone separated from a
loved one by death; another about to leave his home and dear ones to set out
upon an unknown and uncertain adventure. I say to each and every one that there
is no problem, whatever phase it assumes, that cannot be met and solved and dissolved by
Christian Science when this Science is intelligently understood and correctly
applied. No one need whisper vainly, "Is there no balm in
Healings Prove the Presence of the Comforter
Healings or proofs of the presence and power of God are taking place continually. Every healing accomplished throws the weight on the side of Spirit and lessens that specific belief of error for all mankind. The effect in each case of the Comforter understood makes the veil of materiality just that much thinner for everybody else all over the world. Healings come about in various and interesting ways. You may or may not know that there are seven of our Leader's inspired poems set to music in the Christian Science Hymnal. I try to use one of these each day in the week for my inspiration or my solace. May I relate how the truth in one of the hymns helped and healed?
A student of Christian Science was seemingly very ill for a few days, but as disease is not materially diagnosed in Science, I can not give it a name. The daughter of this Scientist, a practitioner, was helping her dear one. While there had been considerable improvement, suddenly the situation changed for the worse, and error seemed to be gaining the victory. The daughter sat by the bedside, working and praying, singing hymns, reading aloud from the Bible and the works of Mrs. Eddy, but the evidence of error seemed more and more threatening. All the phases of error that mortal mind presented – raging fever, delirium, unconsciousness – did not prevent her from realizing the presence of God expressed in His idea, man, and the unrestricted spiritual dominion of man. She recognized the activity of divine ideas in consciousness; she cleared her thought of the sympathetic mesmerism that sometimes seems to exist between parent and child. Gratefully she thanked God that she could see that the only mother was the divine Father-Mother Love holding its child in eternal harmony, not in pain nor suffering.
There was no sense of the passing of time, but as darkness fell the daughter realized that she had sat there six hours without leaving the bedside and with no noticeable improvement. Then she turned to Hymn 253, "Christ My Refuge," by Mary Baker Eddy, and sang softly the first four lines,
"O'er waiting harpstrings of the mind
There sweeps a strain,
Low, sad, and sweet, whose measures bind
The power of pain."
And turning to the dear one, she whispered: " 'Bind the power of pain.' Don't you hear, dear, this is not bound on you, but Truth binds it!" The clouded thought of the mother was penetrated by the ray of Truth, and immediately she sat up and declared: "Yes, I hear. It is true. I am healed. I am well." And she was. She instantly awakened and responded although there had just been an unusually long period of pain and suffering. The next day she was about her usual activities in the home. Surely this evidence is in accord with the promise of Malachi (4:2), "Unto you that fear my name [reverence my nature] shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings."
Knowing God Makes the Comforter Practical
When we discover God for ourselves, that is, when we know as God knows, it is then that we are conscious of our relationship to God, and we demonstrate this fact which meets the human need. Jesus said, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand" (John ). In Science the Son is understood as man, "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" (Science and Health, p. 475). God's idea, man, possesses the right idea of everything – of health, abundance, home, church, friends, business, employment, income. God's man reflects the completeness of divinity. He lacks nothing. Poverty and lack in all forms are mesmeric illusions of mortality. There is the abundance of God for each idea. There is no limitation, curtailment, restriction, obstruction in Mind, and there is none for Mind's ideas. One who knows God is rich; he is the one who entertains the right idea. True and satisfying conditions are the evidence of right ideas held in consciousness and made practical. There is a right idea of everything in God's creation, and man has it infinitely. There is a right idea of every numeral in the multiplication table, and everybody has it. No one ever runs out of figures, because they are mental concepts. Even more true is it with spiritual ideas. One can never lack the infinitude of right spiritual ideas. The idea is the reality itself. We have all good because we know God and include His ideas by reflection.
If you know you are working for God, He rewards you. He is the employer. He pays well and generously. He gives all. Humans should forget about making mere money and serve God first. Think right thoughts – be rich towards God and let Him multiply and increase your income of spiritual ideas. The riches of divine understanding are your treasures. No law exists that says there isn't enough to go around, or that good or bad luck, heredity, economic conditions control one's well-being, and as this great fact is realized it is manifested humanly. Man's destiny is in the hands of God. "Love must necessarily promote and pervade all his success" (Miscellany, p. 165).
God's man does not earn his living by the sweat of his brow. This is the curse put upon a mortal. The real man reflects Life; he is one with it. All that Life is, is yours by reflection – your living, your supply. The clearer you know this the more abundance will you possess. "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke ). God being All, and having all good, is giving it to His child or idea, man. How much of this goodness, this largess and grace, does man have? All. All that is God's is man's by reflection. Each individual idea reflects all that is good in quality, although not in quantity.
Jesus once proclaimed that the
Christian Science Reveals Ever-available Deity
Because Christian Science teaches
of an ever-present, omniscient God, ever available, we learn that we do not
need to beg or beseech God to do for us, but, to avail ourselves of Him. The
perfect prayer is not looking up to God, but knowing as He knows and seeing as
He sees. I beg you to read, study, and absorb the chapter entitled
"Prayer," the first chapter in the Christian Science textbook. In it
Mrs. Eddy says of Jesus (p. 12) that his "humble prayers were deep and
conscientious protests of Truth, – of man's likeness to God and of man's unity
with Truth and Love." The Master's plain statement, "I and my Father
are one" (John ),
affirmed and secured man's indivisible relationship with his creator. This was
his prayer. "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that
thou hearest me always" (John ,42),
voiced his assurance of the result of his divine realization. "Not my
will, but thine, be done" (Luke ),
breathed his conviction of the power of ineffable divine Love to overcome and
dispose of the effects of the crucifixion of the flesh on
The Christ, Truth, Gently Persuades
The Christ, Truth, the Comforter,
is here, bearing on its wings of love redemption, regeneration, comfort, and
healing for all who accept its gentle persuasion. It calls, "Behold, I
stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).
The first picture I can remember was in my grandmother's Bible, the family
Bible. It was the radiant figure of the Master standing in the darkness at a
door overgrown with vines and weeds. There was no handle on the outside of the
door; it had to be opened from the inside. No one could enter, not even this
figure with lantern in hand, waiting and knocking. Time and time again, as a
child, I would go to this picture, not understanding, but wondering about it.
In later years I found the original of it in
When your heavens are as brass
And joy has fled, and
Every door is shut,
Do not forget the one
That opens inward –
The door of your heart,
Whose handle is on the inside
And which only you can open.
Go out through that door
And find one whose skies
Are darker than yours,
Whose burden is heavier;
Bring him back with you
Into your heart.
There can you cleanse him with love,
And clothe him with garments of truth,
And put the ring of his unity
With God upon his hand;
There feed him with the word,
And let him go.
Then will your heavens be
As radiant light,
And your happiness and joy
Such as never were
On land or sea.
(From "A Little Window" by Jean M. Snyder.)
[Published in The Berkeley (California) Daily Gazette, Oct. 17, 1952.]